meristem
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:50 pm

Perennial Topic, New Version: Flight Schools In CA

Mon Jun 15, 2009 4:07 am

A few years ago I did a "discovery flight" as a preamble to training for a PPL. I was rather surprised when handed the controls (I know, I know, most people WANT that ASAP; eventually I realised what I wanted was to first discuss the power plant and aerodynamics of the particular A/C we were in). Something about the experience struck me negatively; the end result is that I did not continue on with training.

I'm over that incident and want to pursue the PPL now. I can use help with 2.5 items:

1. Any suggestions or feedback on flight schools and instructors you know to be good/bad in the San Francisco Bay Area? I'm primarily looking at SQL and PAO but will consider the east bay as well (I reside in San Fran proper, either side of the bay works).

1.5 For CFI/CFIIs out there: Is the CFI going to chuck me out of the plane at 1000ft if I pepper him/her with questions regarding the inner workings of the A/C?

2. Is there any advantage on doing ground school first (e.g. Embry Riddle's online program) and then going to a flight school?


Thanks,
AM
Curiosity killed that cat. I still have some lives left.
 
dw747400
Posts: 1091
Joined: Wed Aug 15, 2001 8:24 am

RE: Perennial Topic, New Version: Flight Schools In CA

Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:13 am

I can't speak to flight schools in the Bay area, but in regards to your other two questions:

Quoting Meristem (Thread starter):



1.5 For CFI/CFIIs out there: Is the CFI going to chuck me out of the plane at 1000ft if I pepper him/her with questions regarding the inner workings of the A/C?

On the ground, most instructors like talking airplanes. Especially if you are on the clock Smile As long as there isn't another student waiting, they will do what they can to accommodate your questions.

Many will get annoyed if you ask them questions at the wrong time. In and around San Fran the airspace is congested, so depending on where you are flying from, traffic density, etc, the instructor may want to concentrate on the radio, traffic scan, and other things--not discuss technical items. Obviously, when the instructor is trying to teach, you should focus on what they are teaching--don't start asking about the compression ratio of the engine when s/he's instructing on steep turns.

Quote:


2. Is there any advantage on doing ground school first (e.g. Embry Riddle's online program
) and then going to a flight school?

I'd speak to your instructor first. Some prefer to combine ground and air so that flight lessons reinforce ground lessons and vice versa, others prefer to give you as much preparation as possible before your first flight in order help focus on the actual flying while in the airplane.

I subscribe to a plan somewhat in between--I like to see students get a good 50% or more of their groundwork done before starting regular lessons, or as quickly as possible after starting. The rest can be structured into a combination of air and ground instruction.

One thing I'd mention--the right CFI is VERY important. When looking for a CFI, find someone who intends to be around for all of your training. Many pilots build flight time as instructors before moving the the regional airlines or other flying jobs--experienced instructors that instruct because they enjoy it are generally preferable. That is not to say an airline bound CFI won't give you exceptional instruction, but it is something to consider.

And remember, if things don't click between you and the instructor, it isn't any one persons fault. It happens all the time, and it is hardly uncommon for a student to request a change in instructor.
CFI--Certfied Freakin Idiot
 
Fly2HMO
Posts: 7207
Joined: Sat Jan 24, 2004 12:14 pm

RE: Perennial Topic, New Version: Flight Schools In CA

Mon Jun 15, 2009 10:33 pm

My question for you is: Why? Are you gonna be a pilot for the fun of it or as a career?

Quoting Meristem (Thread starter):

1.5 For CFI/CFIIs out there: Is the CFI going to chuck me out of the plane at 1000ft if I pepper him/her with questions regarding the inner workings of the A/C?

I would   

But seriously, those questions are better left for the ground. Sounds to me like you're more into how a plane works more so than flying. May want to look into becoming an aerospace engineer or A&P if that's really the case.

Quoting Meristem (Thread starter):
Something about the experience struck me negatively; the end result is that I did not continue on with training.

What was so disturbing about the experience?

Quoting Meristem (Thread starter):

2. Is there any advantage on doing ground school first (e.g. Embry Riddle's online program) and then going to a flight school?

Depends on what type of training program you'll get into. If you get a freelance instructor you may want to take a "real" ground school. Either way you will spend MANY hours on the ground one-on-one with you're instructor doing oral activities.


I'll request to have this moved to tech/ops you'll get better answers there.

[Edited 2009-06-15 15:35:52]
 
meristem
Posts: 53
Joined: Wed Jun 03, 2009 4:50 pm

RE: Perennial Topic, New Version: Flight Schools In CA

Tue Jun 16, 2009 9:19 pm



Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 2):
My question for you is: Why? Are you gonna be a pilot for the fun of it or as a career?

For the fun of it.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 2):
Sounds to me like you're more into how a plane works more so than flying

Hah, yes, it would look like that. It is purely a strategy for dealing with something new: learn tons about the issues surrounding the new activity. Thank you for the suggestion though.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 2):

What was so disturbing about the experience?

Put simply: I was unprepared to hold the controls. Instead of rejoicing, I felt rather....chicken-ish.

Quoting FLY2HMO (Reply 2):


I'll request to have this moved to tech/ops you'll get better answers there.

Aha! So THAT'S the right place...Again, thank you.

Quoting Dw747400 (Reply 1):
And remember, if things don't click between you and the instructor, it isn't any one persons fault. It happens all the time, and it is hardly uncommon for a student to request a change in instructor.

Feels a little like picking a new doctor, dentist or car shop. A mix of references + experience.

What questions do you consider the most important to ask a CFI?

AM
Curiosity killed that cat. I still have some lives left.

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